Lander School District struggles with swimming pool costs as City opts out of current agreement

(Lander, Wyo.) – The Fremont County School District 1 Board of Education is currently exploring ideas for ways to decrease costs and increase revenues for the swimming pool, especially now that the City of Lander has bowed out of the current agreement.

“Due to budget restraints for the coming fiscal year, we are not prepared to renew the existing Swimming Pool Agreement,” Mayor Mick Wolfe wrote to the district in a letter dated May 28. “We are extremely sorry for this turn of events but look forward to meeting with the Administration to figure out how we can help out financially to some degree.”

In recent years, the city has paid $52,000 annually to the district, Superintendent Mike Bowman told trustees at Tuesday night’s board meeting. Bowman reports that operating costs for the swimming pool is $568,000, but in the 2012-13 Fiscal Year only $132,000 of revenue came in from the facility.

Bowman said 70 percent of the pool’s usage is for non-school purposes, such as lane swimming, open swimming, and preschool swim lessons.

Bruce Gresly, swimming pool manager, reportedly told the board that when the pool was originally built, the agreement was for the City and the school district to split the cost of operating the pool evenly since the City did not have the means to build the pool, and the school district was able to bond in order to build the pool. However, over time, the amount contributed by the city was reduced to the annual $52,000.

Bowman said ideas being considered are: reducing the number of times that lap and open swimming are offered during the week, increasing admission fees, increasing the cost of swimming lessons, and providing some of the revenue from the lease of the Hudson School to the swimming pool account.

The city had reportedly offered to give the district money set aside for renovating restrooms at North Park, which was required when the skate park was approved. Trustees decided that money should remain for the restroom.

Trustee Joe Palladino reportedly suggested the city could provide the water for the pool. Trustee Dave Clark said that its hard for the district to justify paying $468,000 a year from the general fund for recreational activities.

Bowman and Business Manager Travis Sweeney are expected to continue to work with the city on potential solutions.

14 Comments

  1. Bob Rountree

    This blanket/blank so called community center is taking so much money and time the swimming is far more important, money for streets has been diverted to the CENTER, who knows what else!!

  2. Cindy Howdyshell

    wow, and the swimming program has been giving Lander a good name for a long time. and it's one of the winningest programs in the state. and the CITY? doesn't want to support it? that's disgusting!

  3. Beth-Ann Piette

    It really is a shame all of the money that is going to the community center instead of the community pool that is used every day and is within the means of more people to use than the community center.

  4. Scott Mittelsteadt

    Its what happens when no one wants to pay taxes.

  5. JasonandKaren Dayton

    The pool is used for more than recreational activities. It provides a place for our young swimmers to develop their skills which result in highly successful high school swim teams. Swim club uses the pool and is one of the key factors for this success. Middle school and high school swimmers are part of the district as are all the elementary kids who participate in swimming lessons as part of their PE curriculum during the school day. I think it is a justifiable expense for the district and the trustees need to look at this from a perspective other than the pool being used for recreational activities.

  6. Stefani Pitt Wanner

    This pool has changed lives including mine. Our teams brought home over 17 state championships, it helped multiple students get college scholarships! It is the reason my life was so good and I never got into trouble! It was my and many others sanctuary! Priorities people!!! Pay for a pool for kids lives to be changed or keep taking away community needs and then feel free to use the extra money to create a drug rehab center! Sounds extreme but kids need a place to go to develop talent, feel good about themselves, make friends and improve their life!

  7. Micah Henry

    wtf…this is NOT ok! I cant imagine growing up in that town without the pool. Screw that!

  8. Jennifer Schanno

    This can't happen this town needs this pool for the community and the kids for the summer and winter to give them stuff to do. If they don't have it I can see TROUBLE happening for the young children and young adults in this town I grew up in Lander and helped with the Swim Team. We must keep the Pool….

  9. I would b so bummed!

  10. Kelsey Erin Knox-Garcia

    I think the city should have to keep to some part of the agreement or they won't be able to keep it open to the public. And to do that I think would be losing a positive activity for the youth in lander.

  11. April Dutchuk

    This is just upsetting.

  12. Tom Adams

    This is infuriating. The community center lack of funding is going to ruin more than just this, it has just begun. You cannot buy stuff you don't need and you cannot afford and expect there to be business as usual. The City of Lander should be ashamed of what they are doing with this snafu. A freaking mess created by the city council and mayor!

  13. Scott Luther

    This is a shame, the pool is a great place for all Lander and Fremont County kids. It keeps many of them occupied and out of trouble, not to mention the awesome history of great swimmers and state championships. If the city doesn't have the money, as Mayor Wolfe says, I hope he is fair in his prioritizing, and chooses not fund the golf course and the airport. The $52,000 for the pool is a drop in the bucket compared to the tax payer bailouts of the golf course and continued funding of the airport. Privatize the golf course and airport, fund the pool!

  14. Scott Luther

    Why would we want to be like Wisconsin, land of high taxes. Let people keep their money, they know how to spend it better then a politician.

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